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Invest in Ireland Q1 2022

The important role for food sector in Ireland

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Alexa Toomey

Dairy, Drinks & Food FDI Department Manager, Enterprise Ireland

Ireland has long been associated with high quality produce. This remains true today as the food sector continues to be a vital industry in the country.

There are currently 11,000 people employed within around 50 companies in the FDI food space located across the country, particularly in regional locations.

Along with smaller, innovative firms, many well-known brands have a well-established presence in Ireland including Danone, Abbott, Diageo, Nestle and Mondalez. Alexa Toomey, Manager of Dairy, Beverages and FDI at Enterprise Ireland, says there is good reason why these sector giants are attracted to Ireland.

“We have a really strong record in partnering with foreign owned companies,” she says. “This country is a great place for businesses in the food sector as it is our most important industry in terms of the indigenous sector, so we have built up a massive level of expertise.

“We have a strong reputation for food safety and food science. There is a huge emphasis on this within our university system along with a very broad government support network through Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia, Teagasc and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Our food sector has a very strong reputation for being sustainable and having a green ethos.

A range of benefits

According to Toomey, the Irish Government’s support for the sector, both directly, and through the Third level institutions, puts Ireland in a very strong position when it comes to food FDI – but this is not the only benefit.

“Our researchers are internationally renowned and have a global reputation for being leaders in their field – Ireland is seen as a world leader regarding research into areas including immunology, molecular biology and genetics,” she says.

“Building on this expertise, we have technology centres for food, for health, a dairy processing technology centre and a meat technology centre – showing how government brings together industry and academia to really focus on tying all of the key strengths together.

“In addition to this, our food sector has a very strong reputation for being sustainable and having a green ethos. In fact, we are home to the worlds’ only national food and drink sustainability programme, Origin Green, which has been running here since 2012.  

“So along with the benefits associated with tax, talent and track record, which applies to all sectors, our food sector is leading the way when it comes to our research and sustainability credentials.”

Ongoing support

Investing in the Irish food sector has many positives and strong supports are in place to help companies get established in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland is on hand to provide connections along with both financial and non-financial support.

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